In Praise of Beat Writers

Dave Cameron at Fangraphs ran an interesting post yesterday about the state of baseball media.  His inspiration for the post, essentially, came from the closing of the Rocky Mountain News.

Dave makes some very nice points about the modern analysis and coverage of baseball but also overlooks at least one critical issue.

Sites like Baseball Musings and MLB Trade Rumors, two of the best baseball resources currently available, are, to an extent, news aggregators.  In that capacity, they are built upon the premise that news is still valuable. 

Were every major U.S. newspaper to shut down tomorrow morning, where would those two sites be?  Well, they’d probably be non-existent in short order, as would many other prominent web sites.

Fangraphs is a phenomenal web site, we can’t say enough about the resources they provide and the effort they put forth (pro bono, no less, as Dave so pointedly reminds us). 

But analytical sites like Fangraphs are only part of the equation, with opinion, reporting, and investigative journalism providing a perspective at least as important.

Many bloggers are, no doubt, enjoying the demise of the traditional newspaper industry, perhaps even with an “I told you so” attitude about the whole thing. 

The irony is that the smug treatment of the failing newspapers by many bloggers is remarkably similar to the dismissal of bloggers by most newspapers only a few short years ago.

The reality is that the two camps need each other more than either would prefer to admit (though the newspapers are coming around).   

Were it not for Mike DiGiovanna, Bill Plunkett, and Michael Becker, for example, the “Halosphere” would be devoid, largely, of developing news and insight, instead becoming nothing but statistical analysis and third-party opinion.

We know that we can’t afford to send anyone to spring training, or out on the road with the team, that’s for sure.

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2 Comments

Filed under The Angels

2 responses to “In Praise of Beat Writers

  1. OH COME ON …If the “halosphere” had half the access to the club as the jaded beat writers, maybe there would be real reporting going on instead of the boilerplate blather served in the daily dead tree.

  2. Ruppert in NYC

    Good take, Nolan. Throw any blogger into DiGiovanna’s chair and I guarantee the product would be no better, probably worse.

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